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Novel treatment for hypertension
AUSTRALIAN researchers say their novel technique for renal nerve deactivation effectively reduces high blood pressure in patients resistant to drug treatments.
The renal denervation procedure is “safe, quick and minimally invasive”, and may eventually offer a way to reduce patients’ drug load, say the developers, from Melbourne’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.
The procedure involves inserting a catheter through the groin into the renal arteries, where it emits radio frequency energy to deactivate the surrounding renal sympathetic nerves. This results in a sustained reduction in blood pressure.
Research supporting the technique’s efficacy was presented to the American Heart Association meeting in Chicago last week by lead researcher Associate Professor Markus Schlaich, who said he expected it to be routinely available within a year now that it had TGA approval.
He presented data from the first international randomised multicentre trial of the procedure, conducted in 106 Australian and European patients with baseline systolic BP of above 160 mmHg, despite treatment with three or more antihypertensives.
Six months after the procedure, subjects recorded an average BP reduction of 33/11 mmHg compared with controls who maintained antihypertensive treatment.
No serious procedure-related events were reported in the trial.
Professor Schlaich said evidence showed reducing systolic BP by as little as 5 mmHg could lower the risk of stroke by almost 30%.
“Renal denervation is a safe, quick and minimally invasive procedure that leads to a substantial and sustained BP reduction,” he said.
“We did short- and long-term assessments of vascular and kidney safety and it’s virtually without side-effects.”
Future studies will investigate the procedure in the context of less severe hypertension, he said.
The Lancet, online